Currently battling a storm and making approximately 2 knots towards Tiksi
As the UK basks in late summer sun, spare a thought for Adrian Flanagan in bitterly cold conditions, retracing his hard-won sea miles in an attempt to load his yacht, Barrabus, onto a merchant ship for the journey west.
No single-handed sailor has ever been allowed to navigate along the Northern Russian coast and no expedition or commercial vessel has ever made a non-stop unaided passage of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
Flanagan’s blog reported on Monday: ‘Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ in Murmansk is currently handling 47 vessels in the iced section of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Some of these vessels are held in ice and icebreakers will provide assistance to them.
‘The crew of a Dutch yacht that had been hoping to make a transit this year (their third attempt in three years), have given up and left their boat in port while they fly home and hope for next year.’
Reports yesterday indicated that the three small merchant ships that Adrian was due to join up with, had given up hope of crossing the small section of thick ice through Proliv Vil’kitskogo, a narrow passage between mainland Russia and the island of Severnaya Zemlya, located nearly 78°N.
The small merchant ships are now expected to winter in Tiksi, located 128°E (as far east as Alice Springs, Australia) and more than 70°N (further north than the whole of Alaska).
Flanagan will load onto a much larger ship – big enough to break through – due to depart 23 September, in hope of continuing his passage the other side of the ice.